02/26/2008 12:00AM

Street Cry colt brings $2.1M

Email

MIAMI - Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's agent, John Ferguson, struck early Tuesday at Fasig-Tipton's Calder selected 2-year-old sale here, and walked away with the day's highest-priced horse: a $2.1 million colt by Street Cry.

The colt, Hip No. 55, was one of only four horses to bring $1 million or more, and was consigned by David Scanlon's Scanlon Training Center, agent. At last year's auction, Fasig-Tipton sold seven horses for $1 million or more, including the sale-topping $2.5 million Storm Cat colt. The lower ceiling and fewer horses sold contributed to declines. The 2008 auction sold 102 horses, down from 124 last year, for $35,100,000 - a decrease of 20 percent from last year's gross. But average and median fell only slightly. Average dropped 2 percent to $344,118, while median fell 8 percent to $230,000. The buyback rate fell from 41 percent to 40 percent.

The sale's top filly was Hip No. 240, a $900,000 Medaglia d'Oro half-sister to Grade 1 winners Spun Sugar and Daaher. Barclay Tagg, agent for Lael Stables, bought her from Crupi's New Castle Farm, agent.

The scratch and buyback rates showed that Tuesday's auction was not for fainthearted sellers, and indeed some of the horses who brought the most money had represented big risks for their consignors. Each of Tuesday's millionaire lots sold for between $300,000 and $425,000 as yearlings before being sent here.

The $2.1 million Street Cry colt had obvious appeal for Maktoum. Maktoum's Darley organization stands Street Cry at its Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Ky. He is the sire of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, who also now stands at Jonabell. The colt's dam, Sage Cat, is a winner by Tabasco Cat. She is the dam of Elliecat, a half-sister to the session-leading colt. Elliecat was stakes-placed when the Fasig-Tipton Calder catalog went to press but then won the Chou Croute Stakes at Fair Grounds in a happy update.

Ferguson, who bid on Maktoum's behalf, had been impressed by the bay colt as a yearling but passed on him when he sold to Paul Pompa Jr. for $425,000 at the Keeneland September yearling auction. But Ferguson kept tabs on the colt, a standard practice with horses by Darley sires.

"Sometimes you like to have the opportunity to see them six months later, how they act on the racetrack, how they move at their faster paces," Ferguson said of the colt, who breezed an eighth-mile in 10.40 seconds at Friday's under-tack show. "He was one of those."

At Calder, Ferguson saw the maturation he had hoped to see.

"He trained very well," he said. "He came up here and moved beautifully on the racetrack. Obviously, now the half-sister is a stakes winner, and that helped the pedigree."

Ferguson's other buys included Hip No. 161, a $675,000 Forestry-Cariada colt from the Stephens Thoroughbreds agency; Hip No. 5, a $550,000 Mr. Greeley-Maresha filly offered by agent Cary Frommer; and Hip No. 83, a $500,000 A. P. Indy-Sophorific colt consigned by Nick de Meric, agent.

Maktoum's rivals at Coolmore Stud bought two horses, both for seven-figure prices. Hip No. 254, a $1.7 million colt by first-crop sire Speightstown out of La Comete, was sold by Leprechaun Racing, agent, which had paid $150,000 for him at the Saratoga sale last year. Hip No. 184, a $1.5 million Storm Cat-Country Romance colt offered by agent Ricky Leppala, had cost Leppala and Carl Bowling $300,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September sale.

Tuesday's other million-dollar horse was Hip No. 73, a Fusaichi Pegasus colt who is a three-quarter brother to Grade 1 winner Roman Ruler. Eric Guillot signed for the colt for Southern Equine Stables. Hoby and Layna Kight, who paid $435,000 for the colt at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling auction last year, were the selling agents.

Guillot's thought process about his million-dollar purchase gave some indication of the oft-mentioned "hoops" horses have to jump through to attract the kind of attention that pays big. Some of the criteria are measurable, such as veterinary reports or workout times. But a lot of it is subjective.

"He was the only one I came here to buy," said Guillot, who commended his purchase's "perfectly short cannon bones and good foot."

"He's my kind of horse," he said. "He looks precocious. He worked good. All the other workers were struggling the last 100 feet working a quarter, but this horse still galloped out with some run in him. I loved his demeanor."

The Kights also sold an $875,000 Storm Cat-Trail Robbery filly to Winchell Thoroughbreds.

Scanlon's consignment was a stark example of why selling select 2-year-olds is not, as the maxim goes, for boys in short pants. The Florida-based consignor hit a handful of high notes with the $2.1 million Street Cry colt; Hip No. 114, a $750,000 Lion Heart-V V S Flawless colt that Robert Ogden bought; and Hip No. 18, a $700,000 Malibu Moon-National Pastime colt that trainer Dallas Stewart said he bought on behalf of an undisclosed partnership. But 17 of his 21-horse consignment failed to reach their reserves at final prices ranging from $125,000 to $1.5 million.

The $1.5 million buyback was a Monarchos half-brother to reigning champion juvenile War Pass; Scanlon said it is possible he will go to straight to the races for War Pass's owner, Robert LaPenta. LaPenta purchased the colt for $200,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September sale.

"We're in a position with some of these horses that we've got good owners," Scanlon said. "They were very confident when they chose these horses, and they want money for them. They've taken horses back in the past that have performed on the racetrack. So if we don't get our prices, we're confident enough to go back to the racetrack.

"It's a good market," Scanlon said, despite his consignment's buyback rate. "There's money here - for the right horse. I think at the level we're playing at at this sale, everybody's looking for the big horse. Sometimes you'd love to see the buyers spread out a little bit and get some of these other horses sold, but that's the market right now, and that's how we've got to play."

Bloodstock agent in intensive care

The Calder sale began on a somber note when Fasig-Tipton announcer Terence Collier said from the auctioneer's stand that well-known bloodstock agent Richard Galpin, who was injured in a fall in a parking lot last Thursday evening, remained on life support Tuesday morning at the Aventura Hospital not far from Calder.

Galpin, of the Newmarket International agency, was a familiar figure on the auction circuit. He had felt well enough after his fall to attend the Calder sale's breeze show on Friday, but fell ill that evening. He was admitted to the hospital and placed in intensive care with brain trauma.